European leaders discuss the EU’s future

22.08.2016

The heads of Italy, France and Germany gathered today on Vernotene island in the Tyrrhenian Sea to discuss the prospects of development of the European Union. This informal summit is necessary for the coordination of positions in the run up to the EU summit set for Wednesday, September 16th.

Loyalty to principles

The island of the meeting has symbolic importance. In 1941, in exile here by the decision of the Mussolini government was a prominent figure in the future of European integration, Altiero Spinelli, who wrote the so-called "Vernotene Manifesto” that called for the creation of a unified, federal, socialist Europe. The Vernotene Manifesto called for the abolition of the nation-state on the European continent. By holding the meeting at this place, European leaders are symbolically underlining their commitment to this idea.

The main topics

The most important topics are: prospects of extending sanctions against Russia, relations with Great Britain and the problem of EU members exiting, the growth of Euroscepticism in the EU, and prospects of the constitutional crisis in Italy. In October this year, a constitutional referendum will be held in the country. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi proposes to reduce the powers of the regions and the Senate and to increase his own. He has promised to resign in the event of losing in the referendum. The collapse of the Renzi government could provoke a political crisis and indicate the growing popularity of Eurosceptics, as well as possibly begin the process of Italy withdrawing from the EU.